Amanda Wrigley
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John Wyver
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In its early years, drama for television was centrally defined by a range of theatrical relationships. Until well into the 1950s, current and recent stagings as well as the wider theatrical repertoire were the primary sources for television drama, and stage techniques remained the dominant influence on small-screen style and presentation. Fewer such productions were made after the 1960s, although they have continued to have a presence in television’s schedules, and the newer medium has continued to draw in multiple ways on plays written for and staged in theatres. These adaptations have enabled audiences of millions across the generations to access and experience theatre in performance in their homes. This Introduction proposes that the development of a critical focus on stage plays on the small screen is long overdue in both television and theatre studies. This absence was addressed in the University of Westminster research project ‘Screen Plays: Theatre Plays on British Television’ (2011–15), funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Explorations undertaken within this project, and specifically those prepared for its two conferences, have been developed for the chapters included in this volume. The content and approach of these chapters are summarised in this Introduction. Collectively, the contributions propose that television’s adaptations of stage plays deserve far greater attention and analysis than they have received to date from scholars of either television or the theatre.

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Screen plays

Theatre plays on British television

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